Can You Paint Aluminum Garage Doors?

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You can paint aluminum garage doors by first cleaning and sanding the surface to remove any existing finish or oxidation. This is followed by priming the surface and then applying two coats of acrylic latex exterior paint designed for metal surfaces.

Man pouring paint into tray. Can you paint aluminum garage doors?

Can you paint aluminum garage doors? Yes!

Painting your aluminum garage door can breathe new life into its appearance, dramatically enhancing your home’s curb appeal. However, you might be wondering if aluminum is a material that can even be painted effectively. The good news is it’s not only possible – it’s also a DIY-friendly project if you take the right steps.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to know about painting aluminum garage doors.

How to Paint Aluminum Garage Doors

Painting an aluminum garage door is more than just slapping on some color; it’s a step-by-step process to ensure longevity and quality. Here’s how to do it:

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Before you can embark on the journey of painting your aluminum garage door, it’s crucial to ensure you have all the necessary supplies at hand. Nothing can halt a DIY project faster than having to make repeated trips to the store for forgotten items. Make a checklist of what you’ll need, which should include:

  • Soap and water or a specialized metal cleaner: This is for the initial cleaning to remove grime and dirt.
  • Sandpaper or a sanding block: Necessary for scuffing up the garage door’s surface so the paint adheres well.
  • Primer: Choose one specifically designed for metal surfaces. This acts as the initial coat and helps the paint adhere better while offering additional protection to the surface.
  • Acrylic latex exterior paint: This is your main material, so make sure you choose a quality brand and color you like.
  • Paintbrushes and/or rollers: Different sizes may be required for edges, corners, and broad surfaces.
  • Drop cloths: To protect your driveway or floor from paint spills and drips.

Go through the checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything, and then head to your local hardware store to purchase your supplies.

Step 2: Clean the Surface

After gathering your supplies, the next step is to clean the surface of your garage door thoroughly. This isn’t a step to skim over, as the cleanliness of the surface will significantly impact how well the paint adheres. Follow these guidelines:

Remove Loose Dirt and Cobwebs: First, use a dry cloth or a brush to remove any loose dirt, dust, or cobwebs.

  • Deep Cleaning: Use soap and water or a specialized metal cleaner to scrub the surface. Make sure to pay attention to corners and crevices where dirt can accumulate. You can use a sponge or a soft bristle brush for this task.
  • Rinse: Once you’ve scrubbed the door, rinse it thoroughly with clean water to remove soap residue.
  • Drying: Allow the door to air dry completely, or use clean towels to wipe down the surface. A dry surface is critical for the primer and paint to adhere correctly.

By following these cleaning guidelines, you’re laying a strong foundation for the upcoming stages of the project, ensuring that your paint job is as smooth and durable as possible.

Step 3: Sand the Surface

Sanding is an essential step in preparing your aluminum garage door for painting. The objective is to create a slightly rough surface that the primer and paint can better adhere to, ensuring a long-lasting finish.

  • Choose Your Sandpaper: Opt for medium-grit sandpaper suitable for metal surfaces.
  • Technique: Use small, circular motions to sand the surface. For larger, flat areas, a sanding block might be useful.
  • Corners and Edges: Pay attention to corners and edges, where paint is most likely to chip or peel. A rougher surface in these areas can offer better adherence.
  • Safety First: Always wear safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from metal dust.
  • Clean Up: Once you have evenly sanded the entire surface, clean it with a dry cloth to remove any sanding residue.

Step 4: Apply Primer

Primer is an undercoat that helps the paint adhere to the aluminum and provides an additional layer of protection against environmental elements.

  • Choose the Right Primer: Pick a metal primer, preferably one that is specifically designed for aluminum surfaces.
  • Application Method: You can use a roller for larger areas and a brush for detailing. Some prefer using a paint sprayer for an even coat, but this can be more complicated and requires additional equipment.
  • Coverage: Apply a thin, even layer of primer across the garage door, making sure to cover all areas you plan to paint.
  • Drying Time: Allow the primer to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions, generally between 2 to 6 hours, but potentially longer in humid conditions.

Step 5: Paint

Finally, it’s time to paint your aluminum garage door. This is where you see your labor bear fruit.

  • Choose Quality Paint: Opt for acrylic latex exterior paint. The color choice is subjective, but make sure you choose a brand that offers high durability and weather resistance.
  • Application: Similar to the primer, use rollers for broad surfaces and brushes for details. If you’re experienced, a paint sprayer can also be used for a more uniform finish.
  • Coats: Depending on the color and quality of the paint, you may need multiple coats. Always allow each coat to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions before applying the next.
  • Final Touch: Once you’ve applied the last coat, give it ample time to dry before using the garage door.
  • Inspect: Walk around and inspect your work to see if there are areas that need touch-ups.

By following these steps, you’re well on your way to having a beautifully painted, durable, and weather-resistant aluminum garage door.

What Color to Paint Aluminum Garage Doors

Choosing the right color for your aluminum garage door is more than a matter of aesthetics – it’s also about compatibility and longevity. While lighter colors tend to reflect sunlight and are less prone to fading, darker colors absorb heat and can help with insulation but might show signs of weathering more quickly. The color should also complement the overall color scheme of your house, including the exterior walls and trim.

However, don’t be afraid to use color as an expression of your personal style. From muted, neutral shades to bold, vibrant hues, the color you choose sets the tone for your home’s curb appeal.

Longevity and Maintenance

The long-term benefits of painting your aluminum garage door largely depend on the preparatory steps you take, as well as the quality of paint you choose. A well-prepared and primed surface is crucial for paint adhesion, which in turn extends the longevity of the job.

When it comes to maintenance, lighter colors might show dirt less than darker shades but may require more frequent touch-ups due to potential fading. Investing in high-quality, weather-resistant paint can minimize the frequency of re-painting, saving you both time and money in the long run. It’s also advisable to clean your garage door periodically to remove dust, dirt, and grime that can affect the paint’s appearance and durability.

Cost vs. Benefit

While it may be tempting to cut corners to save money, the quality of the paint and primer you choose can make a significant difference in the final results.

Cheaper paints may require additional coats, adding to the labor and time involved in the project. Moreover, subpar paint may not adhere as well, causing it to chip or peel prematurely, which leads to more frequent repaints. Therefore, it is crucial to consider not just the immediate cost but the long-term benefits.

Opting for a premium quality paint and investing in good quality brushes or rollers may have a slightly higher upfront cost, but the long-term benefits of durability and less frequent maintenance easily justify the investment.


What type of paint do you use on an aluminum garage door?
Acrylic latex exterior paint designed for metal surfaces is typically recommended.

What’s the best way to paint an aluminum garage door?
Using a combination of a paint roller for large areas and a paintbrush for details generally yields the best results.

Is it a good idea to paint a metal garage door?
Yes, painting a metal garage door is a cost-effective way to enhance your home’s appearance and protect the door from the elements.

What is the best exterior paint for aluminum garage doors?
Look for premium-grade acrylic latex paint designed specifically for exterior metal surfaces for best results.

Want to Talk with A Professional?

Are you overwhelmed with the thought of painting your aluminum garage door yourself? Wondering if replacing your door with a new aluminum garage door might be a better option?

Your Garage Door Guys is a family-owned and operated company that can walk you through the cost of a new aluminum garage door, provide professional aluminum garage door installation, and more. With years of experience and a dedicated team, we can transform your garage door to look brand new. Contact us today for a no-obligation quote, and take the first step towards revitalizing your home’s exterior.


Painting aluminum garage doors is not only possible but also a practical way to update your home’s appearance. With the right preparation and quality materials, your garage door can become a standout feature of your home. If you’re not up for the DIY route, professionals like us are always here to help. Contact us now to learn more about our garage door painting services.

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